With Mother’s Day approaching this week, I want to single out a segment of moms who often get the short end of the stick when it comes to respect and attention: “the stay-at-home mom.”
Before I begin, I don’t want all the moms with jobs outside of the home to come at me. After all, a person would have to be blind not to recognize how extremely difficult it is for working moms to balance the working world with what’s going on at the homefront. It takes a superwoman, for sure, to be on top of both worlds.
Every situation is different. I’ve lived long enough to realize some moms have to work and wish they could stay home, some moms are single moms or sole means of support and have absolutely no choice, some moms enjoy their careers and really like working outside of the home and some moms staying at home wish that their situation was different and they could be making presentations in boardrooms or flying a commercial airplane.
Who I want to highlight and honor in this column are the moms who “choose” to stay home with their children and therefore sacrifice, give up or postpone lucrative careers and often change their lifestyle, all by choice, because they want to stay home with their children. I find that honorable and admirable.
Personally, I had it both ways. I stayed home with my children when they were little, and after my youngest entered first grade, I went back to the career I had pre-children. The verdict? The years I had at home with my children were the best years of my life. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I look at those years as a real God-given gift, and I hold them in my heart and will treasure the memories forever. Even when I was living through those years, I never took them for granted — I always knew they were a gift.
However treasured those years were, they did not come without sacrifice. Sometimes we went with only one car (imagine!), and I used to heavily “coupon” and second-hand shop and do all kinds of other saving strategies. My husband often had to moonlight at a second job. I did all kinds of little side ventures to earn extra cash while staying with the kids, from freelance writing, mystery shopping and typing research papers to delivering telephone books (remember those days?), doing at-home bookkeeping for a local business and inserting the pins in plastic beach badges (my fingers were raw from all the pricks). Remember — not to date myself — moms in my day didn’t have access to the internet to work from home.
As I was fondly remembering these precious young mother days over the weekend, I received an email from a reader whom I had never met before but found her letter intriguing:
“My name is Amy Amalfitano. I live in Media with my husband Joe, and 2 boys Jake 6 and Dylan 5. We moved here 7 years ago from the city when I was pregnant with Jake. The plan was to stay home for the first year, and here I am 7 years later! Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom was a hard decision. My local mom friends, working and nonworking, agree. You have to factor in ridiculous daycare prices. I have a teaching degree in social studies, but a high school teacher’s salary would pretty much be the same as having two kids in daycare. Also, my husband travels a lot for work. Sometimes three weeks a month, Monday through Friday. My mom, who lives in South Jersey comes over once a week, but that’s to visit, not to babysit. And as she likes to remind me ... She already raised kids once! I plan on going back to work full-time, once my youngest is in school full-time. That’s not for another two years, nine year total! So, if you want to earn a little extra income for your family, you have to get creative.”
Amy described her ventures at making extra cash while staying home raising the kids. She created an online organizing business called “A Home For That.” She became a group fitness instructor at the Rocky Run YMCA, where her kids had fun in the Kid Zone playing while she taught classes. She recently started another business.
“One of my Y friends has an Etsy shop, The Providence Story,” Amy wrote. “She sells leather tassel keychains and bags. She, like me, is also trying to make extra income as a stay-at-home mom.
“Over the last year, I have opened an online gift shop, Amadora Gifts. I sell pre-curated gift boxes and individual products. The idea is to make gift-giving easier. All of my products are handmade and come from local makers, small businesses, and Etsy shops. This allows me to stock unique, one-of-a-kind items, making each gift more special.”
I was fascinated by the 2018 stay-at-home mom ways to make extra cash or save money, so I checked in with a few others to hear their ideas. Gina Anderson, of Ridley Park, told me this:
“I go to ‘Kid To Kid’ in Drexel Hill to sell my kids’ outgrown clothes toys and items for cash! I do fall and spring church clothing sales/flea markets, online focus groups. I sold Herbalife and Rodan and Fields. I also sell a lot of my stuff on Facebook Groups, like baby and kid stuff as well as home goods. I also babysat throughout the years, and have done online surveys and I consign as much as I can!”
Finally, I checked in with Kelly Moran, of Holmes, the super mom who started her successful Delco Deal Diva blog and website while being a stay-at-home mom. Kelly told me these are some ways that she earned extra money through the years:
“The Skin Study Center and Cyberderm in Broomall were both great opportunities to earn extra cash by participating in one day or several day skin studies. When you qualify, you visit the office and they often test cosmetic products, baby products, acne products, aging products, skin patches etc in your skin on your skin and you are paid based on the length and involvement of the study. Another favorite way to make extra cash is to join focus groups, such as Focus Pointe in Bala Cynwyd and Philadelphia as well as Group Dynamics. Focus groups are often a few hours long and pay cash or a Visa gift card when the group ends. Often they offer in-home and online studies right from the convenience of your home. Offering services such as babysitting after school and carpooling to and from school or to and from extracurricular activities is especially appealing to working parents who cannot be home during those hours but still convenient to stay at home parents since they can still juggle having their own kids with them as well. Many of my mom friends that were teachers offer tutoring services year round. Also, eBay, Facebook sale pages and twice yearly kid consignment sales are a great way to cash out on kid clothing and gear and make extra cash to purchase new kid stuff each season.”
If you’ve never checked out Kelly Moran’s webpage or blog before, visit delcodealdiva.com, and you will not only discover all kinds of ways to save money, but you’ll find out lots of things to do in Delco and the surrounding area. She does an awesome job on keeping us informed and up-to-date on what’s going on around town.
I thank Amy, Gina and Kelly for all their great ideas.
Amy closed her letter with this thought:
“From my grandmom, who moved here from Sicily when she was 20, to my mom, who is a classic baby-boomer, to me in 2018, being a stay-at-home mom keeps changing.”
In some ways, it has changed, especially with technology. However, the rewards, the challenges and the benefits have stayed pretty consistent through all generations.
I will finish with this thought: Ask any mom who stayed home while her children were young if she regrets it. I can guess the most common answer, and I think you can, too.
The best part of 2018 is that mothers often can choose what works for them and their family and not have others make that personal choice for them.
Whatever path a mom chooses, chances are she made the choice with one thing only on her mind — how the choice will benefit her children. Every mom has to do what’s best for her family and her situation, and all choices take some degree of sacrificing — neither choice is without some ups and some downs.
Happy Mother’s Day to Amy, Gina and Kelly and to all stay-at-home-moms and moms with careers, military moms, moms-to-be, moms separated from their children for some reason, grieving moms, moms of children fighting illness or addiction, moms who have children in prison or gone astray, moms celebrating their very first Mother’s Day, foster moms, moms of children with special needs, my daughter who is an awesome mother to my six grandchildren and, of course, my own beautiful mother, whom I thank God for every day.
God bless all mothers and please say an extra prayer today for all women who are trying to conceive, that God may grant them the miraculous gift of motherhood.
Readers can reached Peg DeGrassa at firstname.lastname@example.org.